What exactly is CBD?
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the lesser-known child of the cannabis sativa plant; its more famous sibling, tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the active ingredient in pot that catapults users’ “high.” With roots in Central Asia, the plant is believed to have been first used medicinally — or for rituals — around 750 B.C., though there are other estimates too.
Cannabisbidiol as well as THC are only two of the hundreds of cannabinoids. THC is a psychoactive substance, and CBD could be, or not be, but that’s subject to controversy. THC can cause anxiety, and it’s unclear which effect CBD can have or if it has any effect on decreasing it. THC may result in cravings and addiction; CBD is being investigated to aid those recovering.
Cannabis that contains 0.3 percentage or less THC is known as hemp. While the previous year’s Farm Bill legalized hemp under federal law, it kept the Food and drug Administration’s control over products derived from cannabis.
What are the basis of the claims?
CBD can be described as offering relief from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic anxiety disorder. CBD is also promoted to improve sleep. One of the reasons CBD has gained popularity is the fact that it claims as “nonpsychoactive,” and that users can benefit from benefits to their health but without feeling high (or the craving for pizza at midnight).
As hemp seeds are popping all across all over the United States, so is the marketing. From nasal sprays and oils to suppositories and lollipops, there is no place not sacred enough for CBD. “It’s the monster that’s become the center of attention,” Dr. Brad Ingram who is and associate professor in the University of Mississippi Medical Center spoke about the many possibilities of CBD currently. He is conducting an experimental study to administer CBD to teenagers and children with epilepsy resistant to drugs.
Does CBD work?
“It’s promising in lots of therapeutic avenues since it’s relatively safe” claimed James MacKillop, co-director of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research in Hamilton, Ontario.
The year before the F.D.A. approved Epidiolex an adsorbent that is pure CBD extract that treats rare seizures for patients who are 2 years old or older, following three randomized double-blind and placebo-controlled studies with 516 participants that demonstrated that the medication, when used in conjunction with other medications can reduce the number of seizures. These kinds of studies are the gold standard of medical research, where participants are split randomly and neither the subject or the research team know what group is taking placebo or the drug.
Although there is a chance of treatment of other ailments using the extract of the plant, Epidiolex remains the only CBD-derived medicine that has been that has been approved through the F.D.A. The majority of the research into cannabidiol was conducted in animals and its current acclaim surpasses the scientific research. “We do not have the 101-level class on CBD completely figured out,” said Ryan Vandrey who is the associate professor in psychiatry as well as behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Can CBD help with PTSD and anxiety?
For students who have generalized anxiety around social interaction speaking for four minutes, with little amount of time for preparation, could be a nightmare. Yet a small experiment in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology found that CBD seemed to reduce nervousness and cognitive impairment in patients with social anxiety in a simulated public speaking task.
But a double-blind research showed that healthy subjects who were given CBD did not show any changes in their emotional reactions to words or images that were unpleasant when compared with the group that was given placebo. “If CBD is a calming medication then it ought to alter the way they react to stimulus,” said Harriet de Wit co-author of the study , and an instructor in the department of psychology at the University of Chicago of psychiatry and neurobiology. “But it did not.”
Many soldiers are returned home haunted from combat and PTSD and tend to avoid certain places, activities or people that are linked to their traumatizing experiences. It is reported that the Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting its first research on CBD that combines CBD with psychotherapy.
“Our top treatments attempt to dispel the link between the remembrance of terror and fear responses” explained Mallory Loflin, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of California, San Diego and the study’s chief researcher. “We believe that CBD is, at a minimum, when used in the form of animal experiments, may aid in the process of making it occur much more quickly.” Although huge clinical trials are in progress however, psychologists believe there’s no enough evidence to determine whether CBD is a feasible treatment.
Can CBD aid in reducing depression and sleep?
Do you wake up in the wee late hours, you’re stuck in a video of puppy? CBD could be a promising sleep aid. One of the negative side effects of those Epidiolex studies for treating epilepsy included sleepiness, according to Dr. MacKillop, a co-author of a study on the effects of CBD and sleep. “If you’re looking for innovative treatments for insomnia it could provide a clue,” he said.
However, he warns that the adverse effects could be the result of interactions with other medications the children were taking in order to reduce seizures. To date, there hasn’t been a controlled, placebo-controlled double-blind study (the the gold standard) regarding sleep disorders or CBD.
Is CBD harmful?
“If you’re taking pure CBD it’s fairly secure,” said Marcel Bonn-Miller who is associate professor of the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman school of Medicine. The side effects of the Epidiolex study included diarrhea, fatigue, sleepiness and a rash, as well as a decrease in appetite, and increased liver enzymes. Additionally, the recommended quantity to consume per day, or in any way in pregnancy, is not yet known.
Recently it was reported that the F.D.A. issued a warning at Curaleaf Inc. about its “unsubstantiated claims” that the plant extract is able to treat various ailments, ranging including depression and anxiety in pets to addiction to opioids and cancer. (In an official statement the company stated that certain products that were in question had been withdrawn and it was in contact in conjunction with F.D.A.)
The Dr. Smita Das, chair of the American Psychiatric Society’s Council on Addiction Psychiatry’s cannabis working group doesn’t recommend CBD for treating PTSD, anxiety insomnia, or sleep. When patients turn products that have not been tested she’s worried they might delay seeking the proper mental health treatment: “I’m dually concerned with the possibility that the exposure of CBD products could cause someone to turn to continue to use cannabis-related products.”
Certain CBD products can come with unwelcome unexpected surprises. Forensic toxicologists from Virginia Commonwealth University examined nine liquids advertised as 100% 100% natural CBD extracts. They discovered one with dextromethorphan, also known as DXM which is a component of over the medicine for coughs and considered toxic when misused and four that contain synthetic cannabinoid, also known as Spice and can trigger anxiety as well as psychosis, tachycardia, and even death, according to an article published from Forensic Science International.
In earlier research, less than a third of the 84 products tested contained the right amounts of CBD on the labels. Some consumers who have taken CBD are also failing tests for drugs when the product contained more THC than what was stated on the label.